Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, last year collected some N5.320 trillion worth of tax revenue, according to a disclosure made by the agency’s Chairman, Mr Babatunde Fowler.

Mr Fowler made this disclosure yesterday in Lagos during a FIRS stakeholders’ retreat. According to him, the agency had actually generated the total sum of N5 trillion by the middle of December last year, with the hopes of rounding off the accounts for the year 2018 at N5.3 trillion.

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If this happens, which is most likely, it would be the highest amount ever generated by the tax agency during a single year period since it was created. The closest amount to this would be the 2012 record of N5.07 trillion.

Mr Fowler also attributed various reforms and new efficient models in the tax collection process as the reason for the recorded results.

Meanwhile, comparing last year’s performance with 2017, Mr Fowler noted that it was a difference of N1.292 trillion.

“In actual figures, in 2016, we collected N3.3 trillion, 2017 was N4.027 trillion and in 2018, we realised N5.320 trillion. We are also quite aware that our focus has to be on non-oil revenue. And in the past three years, when you look at the percentages in terms of contribution of oil tax revenue, in 2015 non-oil contribution to tax revenue accounted for 65 per cent, in 2017 it was 62.5 per cent and in 2018 it was 53.62 per cent.

“So, certainly, our non-oil tax revenue is growing in absolute figures, from 2016 to 2018. In 2016 it was N2.149 trillion, in 2017 it was N2.5 trillion and in 2018 N2.85 trillion. That does not mean we have left behind the oil tax revenue; it has improved from N1.5 trillion in 2016 to N1.52 trillion to N2. 467 trillion in 2018.”

In the meantime, the Federal Government has set a target of N8 trillion for the New Year, Mr Fowler disclosed. Part of the money generated by the agency in 2019 would be used to fund the budget.

Recall that the Federal Government had introduced the Voluntary Assets Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) with the aim of encouraging Nigerians to voluntarily declare their income/assets as well as pay taxes accordingly. Interestingly, the scheme achieved the set objective.

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